Onion Rolls

  • When I visited one of my aunties in Białystok we often talked about cooking and recipes.
  • She mentioned making making bread rolls with onions on top.
  • I did not get an actual recipe and looked some up instead.
  • You can call these cebulaki – (cebula = onion in Polish).
  • However I did find that they are often called  biały as they are a traditional recipe from Białystok.
  • I discovered you will find these for sale in New York as they were brought there by Polish and Jewish émigrés from Białystok around 1920.
  • The traditional topping is fried onion and poppy seeds.

Ingredients – Rolls

  • 200g & 50g plain flour
  • 150 ml warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of dried yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white – for brushing

Ingredients – Topping

  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoons of butter
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Ground pepper
  • ½ tablespoon of poppy seeds

Method – Rolls

  • Mix the milk, yeast, sugar and 50g of plain flour.
  • Leave for 20 minutes
  • Put the 200g  of plain flour, salt, yolks and yeast mixture in a bowl
  • Mix together to form a soft dough.
  • Add a little extra milk if this is too dry.
  • Knead for 10 minutes – set a timer – till you get a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave for 1½ – 2 hours.
  • Line the baking tray with baking paper.
  • *
  • Make the onion topping.
  • *
  • Lightly knead the dough for a few minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 6.
  • Roll each one to make a ball.
  • Place the balls on the baking tray and flatten each one.
  • Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven  to GM6 – 200°C.
  • Using finger tips or the base of a tumbler flatten the centre of each roll.
  • Brush with beaten egg white.
  • Put  the onion and poppy seed mixture into the centre of each roll. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  • *
  • Serve warm or cold.

Method – Onion Topping

  • Thinly slice the onion and cut the slices into quarters.
  • Fry the onion in butter till golden brown.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Leave to cool completely.
  • Mix in the poppy seeds.

Published by


I love cooking and baking. I love trying out new recipes and currently am trying out many old favourites from my Polish cookbooks and family recipes. I am trying out many variations, often to make them easier but still delicious. I collect glass cake stands and china tableware, mainly tea plates, jugs and serving dishes, many of which I use on a daily basis. They are an eclectic mixture from the 20th & 21st century.

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